On our way to North Shore's Historic TownHale'iwa This Way
What do you get when you cross a historic town that retains all of it's charm, with North Shore's surf culture? Haleiwa, Oahu's charming laid-back town, brimming with shopping, dining, and of course, all things surf.
We begin our day as so many visitors do, stopping along Kamehameha highway to photograph the famous Haleiwa sign. I hadn't been out of the car adjusting my aperture for more than a few seconds when I felt the stinging bite of red ants on whose hill I'd chosen to stand, but fortunately, it wasn't a sign (no pun intended) of bad tidings for our day. Red ants or no, surf culture begins to permeate from this point forward when approaching Oahu's North Shore from the leeward side of Oahu. Haleiwa (Hawaiian for 'home of the Frigatebird'), is just around the corner.
As no visit to Haleiwa is complete without the cooling, sweet Hawaiian treat called shave ice, and because my two girls were with me, this was our first stop. Yes, shave, not shaved, and certainly NOT a snow cone. You see, a snow cone is made with crushed ice, shave ice is, well, shaved, from a block of ice and made to order. There is some debate as to who makes the best shave ice, and as far as I can tell, is clearly based on varied and rigorous scientific methods including, but not limited to; the type off machine you use, the way the ice is packed, the type of ice used, how flavors meld...but I digress. Matsumoto's is world famous (perhaps because they use all of the proper techniques?) and if you're willing to wait in line, I hear it's worth it. In our case however, our best kept Haleiwa secret is Anahulu's Shave Ice, right next door to Tropical Rush Volcom Surf Shop. It's delicious, the wait is a lot shorter, and its prices are reasonable.
Anahulu'sThat's Shave Ice, please
Waiting patientlyAnahulu's Shave Ice, decorated in surf chic SharingPina Colada and Watermelon, Grape, Bubble Gum are the flavors du jour Let the cooling beginWhat girl can resist a pink and purple treat?
After shave ice, we wander through town. Here, shopping is as varied as the tourists it attracts. From street-wares, including the requisite tourist finds like painted coconuts and beach towels to upscale boutiques, and everything in-between. Our favorite finds of the day were shells (for the girls) and handmade batik sarongs (for me).
For photographers, Smithsonian-exhibited Clark Little has his gallery in Haliewa, showcasing his amazing wave photography. A must-see.
For SaleSidwalk wares in Haliewa We sell seashells...Souvenirs for every budget Beautiful Batiks
During the winter, the North Shore of Oahu is all about the surf. This is where the foremost surfing competitions are held, including the premier of all, the Vans Triple Crown. Surfers often wait weeks (or months) for the right conditions, yet when the waves arrive with little notice, the competitions are on - calls go out, surfers, judges, announcers and photojournalists are gathered within hours, grandstands suddenly appear beach-side. It's hard to believe that during the summer months the little ripples at Waimea Bay can turn into giant 30' (or higher) waves during the winter. As can be imagined, probably the hardest workers during this time are the surfboard repair guys, who fix dings, dents and gashes from the reef and rocks that they're hammered against during the pounding surf. I was shown the packed-full shop of surfboards in various stages of disrepair, literally dozens, waiting for the kind ministrations of two workers. Perhaps Haleiwa's most thriving business. Regardless of the workload, and as is typical of the laid-back attitude by most in this town, they were happy to answer my questions, gracious enough to allow me to snap a few photos, and eager to talk to me about travel.
Busiest time of the yearFiberglass can be patched, but what about the leg underneath?! Boards The Waiting Game After quite a bit of walking, browsing and a side trip to Waialua (more on this in an upcoming post), the girls decided that with little more than flavored water in their bellies, it was time for something a bit more substantial.
You won't go hungry in Haleiwa. Italian, gourmet burgers, pizzarias, Mexican, local fare...and more is on offer. But nothing is more popular than the food trucks that are found along Kamehameha Highway. And of those, nothing is more popular than the world-famous shrimp, locally grown in the north shore town of Kahuku. We ate our requisite plates of pungent and robust garlic shrimp, with sides of rice and coleslaw with creamy dressing. But the highlight was rather unexpected. Authentic crepes, created by a French chef. We had a dessert offering, but savory crepes are now on the "must do" list for our next outing to Haleiwa.
As the girls asked on our way out of town...."can 'next time' be tomorrow?"
Local FavoriteKahuku Shrimp Unexpected Find Delicious TreatOur second of the day...but who's counting?
What's better than a long weekend in Kauai? The opportunity to spend it with some wonderful friends! We said "a-loooooo-ha" to family and readied ourselves for the tedious 20 minute flight. Seriously, I think we spent more time on the tarmac, taxiing, and taking-off than we did on the actual flight.
This wasn't a photography vacation - but I did manage to hop out and snap a few shots at some amazing locations. My one regret? Not bringing my gear on the catamaran tour of the Na Pali coast. Far and AWAY the highlight of our weekend. Spinner dolphins, turtles, snorkeling, views of Niihau the Forbidden Isle...and the most incredible coastline I've ever had the pleasure of laying eyes upon. Alas, next time.
After we arrived in Kauai on Friday morning, we made our way to our home base on the south shore, in the town of Kaleheo. Not a resort town, it is quiet, beautiful, and our rental home had room for three families, let alone three girlfriends. We spent a good amount of time on the wrap-around lanai, drinking wine in the evening, coffee in the morning, chatting while taking in the ever-changing vistas of mountains and sea.
Interested in a long-weekend (girlfriend or otherwise) in Kauai and want to hit all the highlights? In the spirit of a virtual Darcie Crenshaw Tour, let me break it down for you. I'll assume you're staying on the south shore (Poipu perhaps) as we did...otherwise, break this down into regions.
DAY 1 (South Shore)
Arrival, Car rental
On the way to Poipu from the airport in Lihue, turn left off onto highway 520 (Maluhi Road), and witness the spectacular 'Highway to Heaven' tree-tunnel during the first mile of the road.
Lunch and leisurely shopping in the boutiques and galleries of historic Old Koloa town. Its history dates it back to Hawaii's first successful sugar mill and plantation.
Spend the rest of the day at leisure, and prep for a long day tomorrow.
Day 2 (South and West Shore)
Catamaran sailing tour of the Na Pali coast (we spent several hours, having both breakfast and lunch on the boat). Several charters run out of Eleele town (we used Capt'n Andys...they were wonderful!)
After getting off the boat, drive up to Waimea Canyon (this will take until dinner time). The Grand Canyon of Hawai'i!
Day 3 (East and North Shores)
Wait to eat breakfast in Kapaa town. Specifically at the Kountry Kitchen, conveniently located right along the highway. DELICIOUS!
Head north to Kilauea Point Lighthouse, stunning views from the northern most point of Kauai.
At the turn off to the lighthouse, you'll find historic Kong Lung market. Boutiques, various restaurants, and even a bakery can be found in this delightful shopping area.
Drive at a leisurely pace to Princeville, Hanalei Town, Hanalei Bay and on to Maniniholo Dry Cave (almost at the end of the road). This area speaks for itself...breathtaking vistas and beaches at every turn in the road.
Day 4 (East and South Shores)
We used this day to poke around the areas we wanted to return to...and to enjoy few new spots. The highlights included:
Kapa'a Town shopping....after breakfast at the Kountry Kitchen again. And no, they're not paying me for shameless advertising!
All Saints Episcopal Church in Kapa'a - a beautiful historic church along Kuhio Highway.
Wailua Falls (Lihue) - beautiful twin falls. For those of you old enough to remember, made famous by the opening sequence in Fantasy Island.
Poipu beaches - lunch on the beach is the perfect way to round out your stay.
A few weeks ago we had a dear relative come to stay with us. She'd been to Oahu before and had stayed in Waikiki, but it was only a short weekend on her way to the Big Island with her husband.
She hated it.
I'll concede that Waikiki isn't for everyone. What is exciting, bustling and full of energy to some, is overcrowded and overwhelming to others.
Then she came to stay with us. Of course, she was treated to my Circle Island Tour...twice. On the curve in the road that marks Kahana Bay she remarked, "I had no idea that Oahu had this type of scenery. I've been to Maui, I've been to the Big Island, but Oahu is my favorite island now...and I hated it the first time I came."
If Waikiki isn't your "thing" either - I implore you to get out and see what O'ahu has to offer. From the stunning Ko'olau mountain peaks, to the pristine white sands of Kailua Beach, to the spectacular walk back to Waimea Falls, and so much more. If you've only seen Waikiki, you haven't seen all this island has to offer, which is diverse and absolutely splendid. I've lived on this 44 mile stretch of rock for almost a decade now, and never tire of it.
Of course I operate a small photography tour business - but if, like Waikiki, photography isn't your "thing", please contact me. I'd be happy to share with you some reputable companies that offer great tours.
For my local readers or repeat visitors, what's your favorite spot on Oahu?
By the way, it's okay if it's Waikiki.
I'm rather fond of it myself.
A few years ago, as my passion for genealogy grew, so too did my understanding of how history bridges time and shapes our future. I suppose that living in the shadow of Pearl Harbor reinforces that understanding - the USS Arizona Memorial serving as poignant reminder of the start of America's involvement in World War 2, and a few yards away, the USS Missouri, on whose decks Japan signed the peace treaty, standing as a symbol of the end of the war.
A few nights ago I was reminded of this bridge again, when we met an old friend for dinner in Waikiki.
After, strolling on the beach, I took an opportunity to peek through the Royal Hawaiian hotel, that 1925 symbol of Waikiki's beginnings in the tourism industry. The Moorish architecture and pink stucco facade are hard to miss among the modern high rises. Yet here again, walking down beautifully lit corridors, through tented cabanas poolside, and watching guests enjoy a cocktail at tables by the sea, it wasn't hard to imagine the glamorous visitors of a bygone era sharing much the same experiences.
Darcie Crenshaw Photography is currently looking for two models for a conceptual vintage-styled photo session.
* Two women between the ages of 18-25 with shoulder/mid-length hair
* Able to supply your own vintage (40's-style clothing), or be willing/able to wear the pieces I have available
* Able to style your hair/makeup in a 1940's style
* Be available for SUNRISE photo session in Waikiki in mid-May (date to be determined).
No modeling experience necessary.
Compensation is between 5-10 digital images of your shoot.
To apply, please submit one clear photograph of yourself (doesn't need to be professional) with your hair/makeup styled with a 1940's look to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline to apply: 5/6/2015
I'm SOOO excited about this project, I've been wanting to do it forever! More to come....